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Trip Report Trip report: Telluride, CO Mar 2-4

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I finally made it to Telluride! I had been wanting to go there for years. Even before I started skiing, the town has always called to me. The only thing stopping me from going was always that the return flights back to Boston were poor options; this time I just decided to do it anyway despite the not so great options.

You can opt to fly into either Telluride which is 15 minutes from town or you can choose to fly into Montrose which is 1.5 hours away. Due to what I had read about flights to Telluride often getting diverted to Montrose anyway, I chose to fly into Montrose. My choice was to depart Boston on Friday bound for Denver and then connect to a flight into Montrose. Naturally, being United Airlines, they did multiple schedule changes prior to my trip which messed up my connection only giving me 6 minutes to connect. So instead of having a perfectly planned connection in Denver, I had to call and have them put me on an earlier flight to Denver, giving me a 4 hour layover. My flight to Denver was originally delayed 40 minutes due to late arrival of aircraft from San Francisco. However, we ended up being delayed about 90 minutes so I figured that 4 hour layover was lucky in the end. Upon landing in Denver, I learned my flight to Montrose was canceled! I went to the United customer service station and learning it was canceled due to “weather” and they had put me on the first flight on Saturday at 8:06am. Of course since it was due to “weather” UAL was not responsible for paying for a hotel. The only thing they do for you is give you a pink slip with an 800 number where you can get a discount on a hotel room.
I had no choice but to call the number and I chose the Embassy Suites for $75. I went out and called for their shuttle for which I had to wait 20 minutes. Upon arrival at the hotel of course I had no luggage except carry on and upon check in I signed up for the 6am shuttle back to Denver Airport. The room was fine; a living area and separate bedroom. This whole debacle was especially annoying since I already had paid for a hotel in Telluride and the delay cost me a half day of skiing too.

The next day I got the shuttle and got to the airport about 6:20am and luckily the security line was not too bad. I wanted to arrive early in case of any other surprises. The flight boarded and took off a little late due to baggage loading but we arrived more or less on time. Lots of people on the flight were supposed to be on the Friday night flight that was canceled and we all determined that there was no “weather” but the airline just felt like combining the flights and didn’t want to pick up the bill for a hotel for everyone so they gave us an excuse of “weather”. There was no weather in Denver or Montrose on Friday night according to locals and internet weather.

I had arranged transfers with Telluride Express and upon deplaning I went to their counter in the airport to check in for my ride while awaiting baggage claim. Baggage claim took about 15-20 min. The ride to my hotel, the Camel’s Garden was about 90 minutes, but I did see wildlife such as elk along the way. It was originally difficult to choose where to stay as there were several attractive options in my general price range including the Ice House, New Sheridan, Hotel Telluride and Peaks Resort. Telluride consists of the historic town of Telluride and the Mountain Village. The 2 areas are connected via free gondola, so you can easily stay in one and access the other. I booked my hotel in September and got a better price than I’ve seen in other years when I was looking at doing a trip more last minute. My hotel also offered a Black Friday sale in November but since I’d already booked I couldn’t take advantage of it. I chose to stay in town and picked the Camel’s Garden since it was right next to the gondola which was very convenient for access to the mountain each morning for skiing. The hotel is also just steps away from Lift #8 as well, which takes you part of the way up the mountain from the town (however, this lift only runs from 9am-11am). I got assigned room 101 and the room was quite nice with a queen bed and gas log fireplace and plenty of storage space. The only quibble I had was that the shower was one of those European styles that has a half glass partition instead of a shower curtain so that the water sprays out on the floor. The hotel offers a nightly apres ski happy hour, ski storage (each room gets a locker) and a daily continental breakfast. They also have a large hot tub that looks out on San Juan Ave.

Once I finally arrived and changed into my ski clothes, I went to pick up my lift ticket and then walked next door to the gondola which I took up to Mountain Village. I had arranged demo skis through Christy Sports in Heritage Plaza. I chose the Volkl Kenja in a 156 length. I then went up Lift 4 and skied down a green to Gorrono Ranch for lunch. I opted for a bowl of chili. They offered lots of toppings for the chili such as cilantro, bacon, cheese, scallions, sour cream. After lunch I skied off of Lift 4 then made my way down to Lift 10 and then skied in Prospect Bowl and then up the Gold Hill Express to ski See Forever. The views from See Forever are beautiful and I was lucky it was a clear day.

I stopped skiing about 3:30pm and downloaded back to town on the gondola. I then sat in the hot tub until 5pm when I had a few snacks at the hotel happy hour. I then walked around and looked at some of the shops and had dinner at Brown Dog Pizza. The pizza is supposed to be really good, but I opted for the cheesy bread and cheese burger with American cheese. The food was really good, but the atmosphere is sports bar/loud which is not really my taste. The food was very good though, so I overlooked the atmosphere. After dinner I took the gondola up the mountain to get a view of the town at night.

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    Sunday I had a half day morning private lesson. We worked on easy bumps on Dew Drop and Silvertip and focused on getting me to transition more quickly foot to foot. Then we made our way to Revelation Bowl to ski Majestic which was groomed the night before. Visibility was poor and light was flat which added a level of challenge. I really enjoyed the lesson and feel like I made progress.

    After my lesson I decided to switch my skis to the Blizzard Black Pearl in a 159 length.. I love the Kenjas, but thought I should take advantage of being able to try different skis. It was chilly so I went down to my hotel to put on another layer. I decided to have lunch at Baked in Telluride since I was downtown. I had a BLT and PB choc chip cookie which were both good.

    After lunch I went back up the gondola and got off at the San Sofia midstation to ski down Butterfly. The ski brakes were jammed tightly together and my gloves were slippery and I couldn’t separate them so I took off my right glove to get a better grip. The edges must have been really sharp as I sliced my right index finger open. It was deep-- bleeding a lot and I could see layers of tissue. I skied to the bottom and went to the main office where I asked if there was a medical/patrol station nearby. They called patrol and they showed up and drove me to the Telluride Medical Center. At the center they verified that I had not severed my tendon and I got stitches. I was out skiing again by 3pm but I just stuck to the lift 4 runs.

    Dinner tonight was at the New Sheridan Chop House. I got a margarita, French Onion Soup and 10 oz sirloin with the green peppercorn sauce. The steaks are all served with roasted garlic and come with a bread basket (garlic pita bread and sourdough). I also got the flourless chocolate cake for dessert. The cake had a sort of sambuca undertaste which I didn’t like.

    Tuesday morning brought about 8 inches of fresh snow and I had another half day morning lesson. Today I had a different instructor and we focused on upper and lower body separation and skied Bushwacker, Logpile and some runs off Lift 5. Fresh snow always stymies me, so it was good to have the chance to have a lesson in conditions that I find challenging. It snowed on and off all day and the sun peaked through a few times, but it was mostly cloudy and hard to see most of the day.

    For lunch I had Mac n Cheese at a very crowded Gorrono Ranch. I also had a Heath Bar cookie.

    After lunch I skied by myself off on Polar Queen, Dew Drop, Ophir Loop, See Forever, Lookout and then some runs off Lift 4. I quit about 3:30pm and dropped off my demo skis back at Christy Sports since it was my last day and then downloaded on the gondola. I sat in the hot tub for a little bit and then got some snacks at the hotel happy hour.

    For dinner I went to La Cocina de Luz. You order at the counter and then choose a table and they deliver the food to the table. I got a carne asada burrito with green sauce, a salad and beans. I also got a margarita. Your meal also includes the chips and salsa bar which has several types of salsa to choose from. I liked the salsa that looked like a pico de gallo, but was much spicier. Overall, I wasn’t wowed by my food though, it just wasn’t that flavorful to me. For dessert I stopped at Baked in Telluride and got an M&M cookie. I then finished my evening with one last gondola ride up the mountain to see the town below.

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    (sorry in the post above I think I said Tues morning brought snow--I meant Monday!)

    Tuesday morning I went out at 7:30am and walked around town to take some pictures on this nice sunny morning. I walked up and down the streets and then ended up at Baked in Telluride. I bought some cookies to bring home and then got a Cake Crumb doughnut and a ham n cheese croissant to eat for a hearty breakfast. I wanted to eat so that I would be full since I was flying that day. The croissant and doughnut were really good. The croissant was light and flakey and the doughnut moist and flavorful.

    I got back to the hotel about 8:15am where I spent the next 30 minutes getting ready to leave. Telluride Express was due to pick me up at 9am and they were there about 8:50am. One other group from my hotel was also in the van and we picked up one other party from the Ice House before heading back to Montrose.

    We arrived at the airport about 10:30am and there was nobody in line to check in for American Airlines so I checked right in. Being a small airport, security only opens a certain amount of time prior to a flight taking off, so it was about 11:15am before the security checkpoint opened. Apparently Montrose airport does not offer “lav service” for the planes, so if the lav gets filled up on the flight there, it will be unavailable for the flight out of Montrose, as was the case with my flight. This could present a problem for people with small children or if you are flying a longer distance. My flight was a bit late taking off but we still arrived in Dallas at the scheduled time.

    We landed in Terminal B and I wanted a snack before my next flight, so I went over to Terminal C to get Taco Bell before going to my gate in Terminal A. I was flying First Class, so also ate again on the plane. I think the quality of the meal service was better than that served on the flight to Denver on United. AA had a better nut mix and a fresher tasting salad and a choice of rolls. They also had a better dessert--choice of cookies and cream ice cream or fruit/cheese plate compared to UALs chocolate chip cookie. They also had more attentive flight attendants.

    So, I’m glad I finally got to Telluride. The town was really cute/quaint and the scenery was beautiful. The mountain landscape was very dramatic. Overall, this was the steepest mountain I’ve skied. I had always heard that Telluride was uncrowded, but I didn’t really think it was any less crowded than some of the other places I’ve skied out West (Steamboat, Aspen/Snowmass). In fact, I felt like it seemed more crowded, maybe because I’d always heard how uncrowded it was that I expected more. I ski the East mostly, and it was still much less crowded than that so it was still great. In some ways it seemed more like an eastern area than some places out West. The only reason I say this is because some of the trails were narrower than other Western areas. The scenery and bowls of course are completely unlike the East! I loved that the town and mountain are easily connected via the gondola, which made it very easy to get around. I also really liked my hotel, the Camel’s Garden. It was in a very convenient location and it was more of a boutique hotel feel and the room felt very home like and comfortable. It seemed that most of the people I talked to had been coming to Telluride for years, so it has quite a following despite it’s remoteness. I can see myself returning as well, but probably not soon, as I want to continue to try other locations. There are so many places to try and a short season!

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    i lived in telluride briefly before the ski area really got big. imagine it looks a bit different now. fun memory: was hanging out at friends ski shop. suddenly they said "everybody out" then locked the shop. the street filled with people as EVERYthing (even the bank) closed. then the mine in the back of the canyon started blasting - starting a huge avalanche which gradually filled the entire valley with billowy snow from bottom to top. everyone looked on in awe then went back to work, lol.
    good report. i love how you eat! any photos to share?

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    Glad to hear Baked in Telluride is back open; it had closed for quite a while after a fire. New Sheridan is always a favorite spot for us.

    Hubby skis there a lot and loves it but he skies trees. He thinks it is fairly uncrowded, especially during the week, when locals try to ski.

    Glad you finally got there. I don't ski anymore, so I prefer summer and fall in town and the surrounding mountains.

    I have a thread on here with places to eat in Telluride, too bad you didn't see it.

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